"He's exactly what we missed!" - Fulham manager reveals why he signed Leeds striker

Elland Road pitchside

Leeds United made the controversial decision to sell striker Matt Smith to Fulham on deadline day, with Felix Magath saying he has solved a big problem.

As deadline day drew ever closer to its end, Leeds United fans were given hope. A turbulent summer had seen the arrival of new owner Massimo Cellino, a bizarre managerial appointment in Dave Hockaday, an influx of unknown Italian players and the sale of star striker Ross McCormack to Fulham for £11m. With little to shout about on the field, Leeds needed a boost as 11pm rolled around on September 1st.

With an hour and ten minutes left of deadline day, the Leeds twitter account teased its fans. "Don't go to bed just yet...there is still work to be done", read the tweet. Optimism grew as fans tried to guess who their latest new signing was. They were only to be disappointed.

An hour later, Leeds confirmed that striker Matt Smith had been sold to Championship rivals Fulham for a fee believed to be in the region of £600,000. Other than the announcement that fringe forward Dominic Poleon had also left for Oldham, that was it. Leeds were done in the summer transfer window.

The backlash was fierce; fans were fuming that not only had no more signings been made, but that Smith had been sold, reuniting with McCormack at Craven Cottage. Smith was far from prolific with 14 goals in 48 games, but he was a popular figure as the Football League's love affair with a good, old fashioned target man was alive and kicking at Elland Road.

Fans were disgruntled that Smith had been sold with so few proven options left at the club up front; Billy Sharp can't do it on his own, whilst Nicky Ajose, Brian Montenegro, Mirko Antenucci and Souleymane Doukara remain unknown quantities at Championship level and Noel Hunt and Steve Morison have both received plenty of criticism for their goal shy performances for Leeds.

As if things weren't bad enough, Leeds now have to deal with this; Fulham boss Felix Magath lauding his new signing, revealing why he signed Smith and how he can offer his side something different as they look to make a push for promotion straight back to the Premier League.

"From the beginning I was searching for a tall, very good header of the ball because we are team without tall players," Magath said. "In pre season we asked for two players but they were not signed so we were searching for such a player."

"Matt Smith is a very strong guy, he is very tall so he is very good in air and that is what we missed until today," the German added. "That was a problem in our games at the start of the season as when we conceded a goal after 20/30 minutes we didn’t have the option to play high balls to make pressure but now I think we have another option".

"We can put pressure on the opponent and with his strengths we can come over the sides and we can search for him with crosses as he is a very strong target in the middle. With his strength he will help the players beside him find space."

Leeds have to hope that the likes of Ajose, Antenucci and Doukara adjust to life in the Championship quickly, but it would still be little consolation as they watch McCormack and Smith partner each other once again - but this time, for another team.

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